Marceline High School student Kyle Ratliff attended the Missouri Scholar Academy held at the University of Missouri this summer.

While there, Ratliff spent three weeks taking college level courses, meeting new people and attending many events.

Last school year, Kyle Ratliff was a sophomore at Marceline High School. He had a high GPA and was near the top of his class. Kathy Harlan began working as a counselor for the Marceline School District the same year and met Ratliff early on.

Over the course of the school year, Harlan had received criteria from the University of Missouri about the Missouri Scholar Academy (MSA). Harlan was familiar with the program, sending her daughter in 2015.

Harlan talked to Ratliff and thought it would be a good fit.

“I think Kyle was a great pick for MSA because he had high test scores,” Harlan said. “I just think he’s a great kid.”

Every year schools across Missouri select rising juniors to send to MSA. Although thousands of students apply, only 330 students attend. After completing an IQ test, an Aspire test, two essays and receiving two letters of recommendation Ratliff learned he would be one of the few attending MSA.

“It was very enjoyable, I’m really glad I went,” Ratliff said. “This was a complete first for me.”

While at MSA, Ratliff took Japanese and Latin. Ratliff says the classes gave him a unique experience.

“It was a pretty big change for me, I never had experience with another language before” Ratliff said.

Ratliff arrived at MSA June 10 and stayed for three weeks on the University of Missouri campus. It was the longest amount of time Ratliff has spent away from home.

At MSA students take one three hour major, a one hour minor and pick from many evening activities. The evening events included going to the ballet, seeing plays, going to lectures from visiting speakers and much more. Some evenings may have up to four different programs running at the same time.

MSA director Dr. Steve Keller says the academy is a great opportunity for students.

“MSA is a whole body experience, it’s something other programs can’t necessarily replicate,” Keller said. “We allow the students to get to know other academic scholars from across the state. They meet students that have backgrounds completely different from their own.”

Keller works in the chemistry department at Mizzou and has been the MSA director for four years. MSA finished its 33rd year this summer.

In the end, Ratliff had an unforgettable experience and has learned a lot from MSA.

“At first I didn’t know what my options were before I got there, but I have so much experience from so many different angles its given me a great perspective on how much there actually is to do out there,” Ratliff said.